Imagine being yanked away from your family, regardless of your age, and crammed into a disease-ridden ship with thousands of other people for weeks. After surviving the journey that many others do not, you’re then sold at auction, only to be imprisoned on a farm where you must follow your master’s every order. Sometimes you’re beaten or starved for a day or two for doing one thing wrong, sometimes even murdered. This is slavery. Would you support it? First, think about the multiple number of states that seceded from the United States during the 1860’s. Initially, there were only seven states that decided to secede: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. It started around the time of the election of Abraham Lincoln, also known as ‘Honest Abe’ before his political career. he North and South had different views during the nineteenth century, most notably their major dispute on slavery. The North didn’t support the idea of slave work on plantations or farms, which is when the South decided to secede.Tennessee, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Virgina were not included in the states that seceded, which came to be called the Confederate States of America.
After the election of Lincoln in 1861 the Confederate States set up their own government, electing Jefferson Davis as their president and Alexander Stephens as the Vice President (History.com). The Confederacy had such demanding and overwhelming ideas, not just economically, but agriculturally as well. They supported the idea of bringing African American slaves over to confederate states to sell them and have them start working on farms and plantations in the South. Do you support or oppose slavery?
Before getting involved with politics, President Lincoln was a very well-known lawyer and anti-slavery activist. He also attended school and taught himself law; he passed his bar exam in 1836, became a lawyer and moved to Illinois where he earned his nickname ‘Honest Abe.’ Around 1846, Lincoln decided to run for the election of the U.S. House of Representatives (History.com). At this time no one had heard of Abraham Lincoln and very much doubted anything he had to say. This was especially due to his strong disagreement about the U.S. war with Mexico which many people, Lincoln himself included, believed was just a gambit to expand slavery across the U.S. (library.brown.edu). Once his one-year mark was served and he returned home, events transpired that drove Lincoln back into national politics. However, his long-term political rival, Stephen Douglas, seemed to snake his way through the Kansas-Nebraska Act which states, “the voters of each territory should be able to choose whether or not their territory is a slave or slave free territory” (History.com). Lincoln made his famous ‘House Divided Speech’ in June of 1858 which stated that “the government cannot permanently acquire half slave states and the other half non-slave states, and a house divided cannot stand” (abrahamlincolnonline.org). He had the nations vote just three short years later, sending him straight to the White House.
Shortly after Lincoln’s inauguration on March 4th, 1861, the first Civil War broke out on April 12, 1861 at Fort Sumter. The two sides that made up the forces that fought in the war were the North and the South. The South, also known as the Confederacy, supported the right to be a slaveholding territory. However the North, known as the Union, opposed being slaveholders and thought it was wrong because the Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” (mountvernon.org). In 1863, President Lincoln brought to light something that could change the U.S.: The Emancipation Proclamation. It states that “all slaves in the rebellious states, shall henceforward be allowed freedom” (archives.gov). Although the Emancipation Proclamation said that the slaves in the slave states shall be free, it depended on the Union victory of the many years of bloodshed. Just a few short months before the Civil War was over, President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilks Boothe, a member of the Confederacy (History.com). After many tough battles fought by both the North and the South, Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general surrendered the last Confederate army over to Ulysses S. Grant, a Union general at Appomattox, in April of 1865. The Union had won, and the slaves were free.
Even though President Lincoln died before he got to see the victory that his Union army made, he protected and fought for what he thought was right until the day he was killed in cold blood. He wanted to end slavery and all the treacherous entities that the Confederacy brought, including their selfishness to put other human beings under evil white supremacy by treating them like a piece of property and putting them to work for their own personal advantage. He never gave up; Lincoln truly believed that ending slavery would bring a whole new world to us. Should monuments under the influence of confederate states be removed? For example, the monuments of Robert E Lee, Stone Wall Jackson, Taney and other confederates and confederate soldiers were taken down in Texas, Baltimore, Florida, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, California and many more cities and states due to racism and hate (foxnews.com). The immense amount of agony and pain that not only the slaves went through, but also their ancestors after them and the Union soldiers that put their lives on the line, was eased knowing that they fought not only for what they believed in but for what they thought was right.
From law we come, to law we must return. Leaving these monuments of the confederacy up around the world could put wrong meaning into other eyes. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but if all the books are covered with racism and hate and belittling other people, making supposed equal men and women and children feel scared and putting them to work with no other option but work or die, then what kind of nation does this one stand for? The United States of America is supposed to be “one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” (sos.wa.gov). I strongly oppose that confederate monuments should be kept up. As a nation, you should get wiser and stronger and learn from the mistakes that are made in the past, not make the same mistake twice. These errors from the past are only errors, merely mistakes led by misleading contenders of the past.
Works Cited/Annotated Bibliography
- “A Brief Overview of the American Civil War.” American Battlefield Trust, 16 Oct. 2018, www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/brief-overview-american-civil-war.
This is an excellent secondary source that gives information about the Civil War and how both sides, North and South, felt on the war and everything that transpired with both sides.
- Carbone, Christopher. “Which Confederate Statues Were Removed? A Running List.” Fox News, FOX News Network, www.foxnews.com/us/which-confederate-statues-were-removed-a-running-list.
This is a firsthand source that gives cities/states that lists many reasons why people believe that the confederate monuments in their town should be taken down for good.
- “Declaration of Independence.” George Washington’s Mount Vernon, www.mountvernon.org/library/digitalhistory/digital-encyclopedia/article/declaration-of-independence/.
This is a secondary source that gives us the entire Deceleration of Independence.
- “Document #38 Abraham Lincoln on the Mexican American War.” Modern Latin America, library.brown.edu/create/modernlatinamerica/chapters/chapter-14-the-united-states-and-latin-america/primary-documents-w-accompanying-discussion-questions/abraham-lincoln-on-the-mexican-american-war-1846-48/.
This is a secondary article that just pin points the few things about the Mexican-American War and how Abraham Lincoln viewed the war and what would come about it.
- Editors, History.com. “Abraham Lincoln.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 29 Oct. 2009, www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/abraham-lincoln.
This is an excellent source that talks about Abraham Lincoln from the day he was born to the day he died. It included details about his political life, his most proud achievement speeches and also how he died and the victory that he unfortunately did not get to celebrate, nor the implications that it had left and what the U.S. had gained.
- Editors, History.com. “Confederate States of America.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 9 Nov. 2009, www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/confederate-states-of-america.
This is a secondary source that talks about the Confederate States of America and reasons on why states in the South decided to secede. It also includes President Lincoln when he came into term and how he handled the War when it broke out and includes details about Lincolns assassination and the events after the war.
- Editors, History.com. “Kansas-Nebraska Act.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 29 Oct. 2009, www.history.com/topics/19th-century/kansas-nebraska-act.
This is a secondary source that explains what and how the Kansas-Nebraska Act came about and also who was all involved.
- “House Divided Speech.” Abraham Lincoln’s Advice to Lawyers, www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/house.htm.
This is a source that gives the complete that Lincoln gave stating about he felt about the states being half slave and half slave free states and how the state should go about it.
- “The Emancipation Proclamation.” National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured-documents/emancipation-proclamation.
This is a secondary source that gives us Lincolns Emancipation Proclamation and basically states that all slaves shall be free that are being held captive, before the bloody Civil War was over.
- “The Pledge of Allegiance.” The Pledge of Allegiance – Washington State Flag – WA Secretary of State, www.sos.wa.gov/flag/pledge.aspx.
This is a secondhand source on the Pledge of Allegiance.